Letter | Published:

Permanent Electrodes for Magnetohydrodynamic Power Generation

Naturevolume 193pages467468 (1962) | Download Citation



THE principles of magnetohydrodynamic generation have been experimentally verified1, and quite large amounts of electrical power have been produced experimentally using plasmas at temperatures around 2,500° C. obtained from the products of combustion of hydrocarbons with oxygen by seeding with potassium. Brogan et al.2 have generated more than 200 kW. for 9 sec., and Way et al.3 have generated 10 kW. for many minutes; but the electrode surfaces were considerably eroded during the course of both these experiments. One of the major problems is, therefore, to find an electrode which is stable and which will emit electrons (to maintain electronic conductivity in the plasma) into a fast-moving partially ionized gas stream containing carbon monoxide, water vapour and impurities such as sulphur which normally poison low-temperature cathodes, at a pressure of about one atmosphere and a temperature in excess of 2,000° C.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Rosa, R. J., Phys. of Fluids, 4, 182 (1961).

  2. 2

    Brogan, T. R., Kantrowitz, A. R., Rosa, R. J., and Stekly, Z. J. J., presented at the Second Symp. Engineering Aspects of MHD, Philadelphia (March 1961).

  3. 3

    Way, S., de Corso, S. M., Hundstad, R. L., Kemeny, G. A., Stewart, W., and Young, W. E., Trans. Amer. Soc. Mech. Eng., 83, A (J. Eng. for Power), 397 (1961).

  4. 4

    Ziebland, H., J. Brit. Interplanetary Soc., 13, 129 (1954).

  5. 5

    Mullaney, G. J., Kydd, P. H., and Dibelius, N. R., J. App. Phys., 32, 668 (1961).

  6. 6

    Sakuntala, M., Von Engel, A., and Fowler, R. G., Phys. Rev., 118, 1459 (1960).

  7. 7

    Sellers, jun., J. P., A.R.S. J., 31, 662 (1961).

  8. 8

    Pain, H. J., and Smy, P. R., J. Fluid Mech., 10, 51 (1961).

Download references

Author information


  1. Central Electricity Research Laboratories, Leatherhead, Surrey

    • J. MAYCOCK
    • , J. A. NOÉ
    •  & D. T. SWIFT-HOOK


  1. Search for J. MAYCOCK in:

  2. Search for J. A. NOÉ in:

  3. Search for D. T. SWIFT-HOOK in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.